Most potato salads don’t fit into a vegan diet because of the presence of the typical ingredients: mayonnaise, egg and bacon. Vegans eschew all animal products, including eggs and dairy, in favor of plant-based foods. Easily substitute vegan mayonnaise products, or use a vinegar-based dressing, for a vegan spin on traditional potato salad.
Store-Bought Vegan Mayonnaise
The easiest way to substitute for mayonnaise is to use a store-bought vegan mayonnaise. These products are made without eggs and use a combination of canola oil, brown rice syrup and soy protein to create a creamy mayo-like product. Use vegan mayonnaise as a 1-to-1 substitute for regular mayo in your favorite potato salad recipe that includes ingredients such as boiled, cubed potatoes; chopped celery; diced red onion; fresh chopped dill; cider vinegar; lemon juice and Dijon mustard. If the original recipe calls for chopped hard-boiled eggs, leave them out; vegans do not eat eggs. Add any number of vegetables to the salad to create more texture, such as arugula, chopped carrots and pickles.
Homemade Mayo Substitute
If you find the taste and texture of vegan mayonnaise off-putting, make homemade variations using plant products. Combine firm tofu that you’ve pressed to remove all the liquid with a few tablespoons of water, vegetable oil, lemon juice and salt to taste. If you prefer a sweeter flavor, add a teaspoon or two of agave nectar. For a soy-free mayonnaise, use a base of almonds that you’ve soaked in water overnight and pureed in a high-speed blender. Add a few tablespoons of lemon juice and dried mustard powder, salt and ground pepper to taste. Blend in about 1/2 cup of olive oil for every 1/2 cup of almonds you use. Use either of these mayos as you would regular mayonnaise in a traditional potato salad recipe.
German potato salad forgoes mayonnaise as the dressing in favor of a tangy, sweet and sour vinegar-based blend. The addition of bacon to the traditional recipe gives the salad an irresistible smokey flavor, but it also makes it non-vegan. To make it vegan-style, create a dressing by using 1/4 cup of sugar for every 2/3 cup of vinegar and water. Cook over moderate heat to dissolve the sugar and then add a bit of cornstarch; bring the mixture to a boil to thicken.Season with salt, black pepper and powdered dry mustard. Pour the hot dressing over the cooked, diced potatoes and garnish with chopped scallions.
Expand your culinary horizons by creating a vegan potato salad that doesn’t try to mimic non-vegan salads. To sliced cooked potatoes — try fingerlings or Yukon gold for a creamy texture — add a dressing composed of salt, white wine vinegar, whole-grain mustard, pickle relish, sugar, minced shallots and olive oil. Mash a few of the potatoes into the dressing to make it creamy, and then gently fold it into the rest of the cooked potatoes so they don’t lose their shape. Stir in a tablespoon or two of chopped capers, diced celery and minced parsley leaves.
References and ResourcesPETA: Creamy Dill Potato Salad
The Kitchn: Two Vegan Mayonnaise Recipes
Follow Your Heart: Products
Epicurious: Vegetarian German Potato Salad
Serious Eats: Creamy Fingerling Potatoes